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KARACHI: Car sales rose to 172,911 units in July-May 2016-17 from 167,507 units in the corresponding period last year thanks to surging demand for Suzuki WagonR and Honda vehicles.

In bikes, Honda motorcycles broke its monthly sales and production record by achieving production of 90,800 and 93,060 units, respectively, in May 2017. Surprisingly, the second highest bike maker, United Auto Motorcycle, has also broken its production and sales record in May 2017 by assembling and selling 31,347 units each.

According to the data of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (Pama), sales of Toyota Corolla struggled at 49,667 as compared to 53,410 units as Honda Civic, City and newly launched Honda BR-V are reportedly giving tough time to Corolla.

Combined sales of Honda Civic and City swelled to 34,896 units in the last 11 months from 23,800 units while Suzuki Swift sales crawled up to 3,871 from 3,761 units.

WagonR sales climbed to 16,006 from 8,490 units while Suzuki Cultus sales improved to 15,238 from 14,850 units.

Suzuki Mehran sales went up to 35,252 from 34,691 units while Suzuki Bolan sales fell sharply to 17,980 from 28,498 units after the Punjab Rozgar Scheme ended.

Increasing car sales have pushed up imports of completely and semi-knocked down kits, giving an impression of low localisation achieved by local assemblers.

Import of CKD/SKD kits for car assembling rose to $547 million in July-April 2016-17 from $425m in same period last fiscal.

Sale of Toyota Fortuner rose by more than 100 per cent to 1,136 from 518 units while newly launched Honda BR-V sales in April-May 2017 stood at 1,403 units. Suzuki Ravi sales plunged to 16,698 units from 28,339 units due to end of Punjab Rozgar Scheme. Toyota Hilux sales increased to 5,509 from 4,603 units.

Adnan Sami Sheikh at Top Line Securities attributed shrinking Corolla sales to company’s strategy to boost LCV/SUV production while decreasing the production of Corolla units till the completion of debottlenecking.

He said tractor sales continued to exhibit an upward trajectory with off-take growing 65pc in 11MFY17. He anticipated lower retail prices (reduced GST), improving crop yield and continuation of fertiliser subsidy to alleviate liquidity concerns among farmers, thus improving the overall tractor off-take going forward.

Moreover, the FY18 Sindh provincial budget has set aside Rs7 billion for improving agriculture produce, including Rs2bn in subsidy for farmers on tractor purchase.

Fiat tractors sales went up to 18,317 from 11,653 units while a total of 31,606 units of Massey Ferguson tractors were sold in July-May 2016-17 from 18,208 units.

Truck and bus sales of Pama member companies in 11MFY17 remained strong. Total truck sales stood at 6,854 units as compared to 4,901 units while bus sales grew to 1,053 from 914 units. Import of CKD/SKD kits for assembly of heavy vehicles reached $220m in July-April 2016-17 as compared to $180m in same period last fiscal.

Overall bikes of Atlas Honda Limited hit 888,640 units in July-May 2016-17 as compared to 748,911 units in same period last fiscal. Suzuki bike sales stood at 16,725 units as against 16,099 in July-May 2015-16. Yamaha bike sales declined to 12,262 from 15,239 units. United Auto Motorcycle assembled and sold 298,329 bikes each in July-May 2016-17 as compared to 236,567 units in same period of last fiscal.

Despite rising bike sales, the import of CKD/SKD kits for bike assembling fell to $73m from $82m in July-April 2015-16.

Even though the sales of locally produced cars are on the rise, consumers are purchasing used cars in higher numbers which is evident from its thriving imports.

According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), car imports surged to $321m in July-April 2016-17 from $267m in same period last year.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2017